Love's deal celebrates the art of compromise

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 26, 2012 - 6:59 AM

The Wolves forward signed for four years and more than $61 million, but he can become a free agent after three years.

DALLAS - NBA owners haggled with players for months during testy labor negotiations last summer and fall, seeking a system that will allow small-market teams to retain their young stars for the long run.

In a contradictory twist, the Timberwolves and All-Star forward Kevin Love agreed early Wednesday morning to a contract extension in which the team got the shorter deal it sought while Love gave up his desire for "designated player" status that would have kept him in Minnesota for five more seasons beyond this one.

In the end, the two sides compromised on a four-year contract worth nearly $61 million that gives Love the option to become an unrestricted free agent after the third season.

"I wanted to be here," Love said. "I love Minnesota. I love the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. I love the fans. Everyone who has been around me the last four years knows that. Obviously, the cold weather is tough at some points, but the fans have been so great.

"There were some naysayers in my career, even before draft night, after draft night. But the fans have been with me since Day 1, so I thank them. That message is really heartfelt and sincere."

If Love takes that out option, his contract will expire just when Ricky Rubio's rookie contract and coach Rick Adelman's contract could be up in the summer of 2015. Until at least then, he is a Timberwolf.

"It's a good thing for everybody, from him, the organization," Adelman said. "It's out of the way. Now he's relieved to get it done and we can just move forward."

The Wolves balked at a five-year contract that would have paid Love nearly $80 million in a market where the Twins have watched Joe Mauer play fewer and fewer games by the month since they signed him to a $184 million contract in 2010. A four-year deal also is less money on the books if owner Glen Taylor decides to sell the team in that time.

Taylor and President of Basketball Operations David Kahn didn't want to commit their only allowed designated-player slot just six weeks into a new labor deal that will last for at least the next six seasons. Kahn said saving that ability to award another player -- Ricky Rubio perhaps? -- with a five-year extension someday was a consideration.

"Not at all, it's for somebody perhaps," Kahn said when asked if he was saving that slot for Rubio. "We're 45 days into a new collective bargaining agreement. It was hard to extinguish that right for the next 5¾ years."

Love could have become a restricted free agent next summer -- or an unrestricted free agent in 2013 if he played next season for a $6.1 million salary -- but he chose the guaranteed $61 million in his pocket now and the right to leave three seasons into the contract if he so chooses. Or he could sign a two-year extension with the team then.

"Me personally, I wanted to make a five-year commitment," he said. "When they weren't willing to do that, I feel like four years is good. I'd like to see the direction of where this team is headed, and I think we're getting better. I think the future is bright."

Wednesday's deal guarantees Love will play nearly the next four seasons with rookie Rubio.

"Of course, of course," the point guard said when asked if he hopes to play his career alongside Love. "He is the key to this team. He is a leader. We all appreciate what he does on the court."

Two other members of Love's 2008 draft class -- Chicago's Derrick Rose and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook -- have signed five-year contracts worth as much as their teams currently could have paid ($94 million for Rose, about $80 million for Westbrook).

Love was asked if he sought that fifth year for the extra $17 million-plus so he could share the same status with two friends, one of whom already has won a league MVP award and the other who has been named to an All-NBA team.

"I believe I'm on the same status with them regardless of how much money I make or regardless how many years I get on my contract," Love said. "I know what I'm worth in this league. I'll continue to keep working, stay humble, stay grounded and just keep fighting for this organization, keep fighting for my teammates, keep fighting for my family, keep fighting for the fans."

When asked what he will do with all that money, Love said he will give some to his parents and save the rest.

He was asked if he really realizes how much $61 million is.

"No, not yet," he said. "I'm happy for my family, happy for myself. I've worked very hard to be where I'm at today. There's going to be no stopping. I'd like to think at 23 years old, I'm far from my prime and people haven't really seen anything of what I can do yet."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 115 FINAL
Orlando 100
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 103
Denver 69 FINAL
Memphis 99
Chicago 76 4th Qtr
LA Lakers 80
Montreal 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 0
Winnipeg 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Boston 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 3 FINAL
Toronto 1
Dallas 6 FINAL
Ottawa 3
Detroit 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 5
Columbus 2 FINAL
Florida 3
Nashville 4 FINAL(SO)
St. Louis 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Calgary 0
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Anaheim 2 3rd Prd 12:38
San Jose 6
DePaul 72 FINAL
Providence 83
Michigan State 71 FINAL
Rutgers 51
Boston Univ 67 FINAL
Army 71
Fla Atlantic 61 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Youngstown St 87 FINAL
Detroit 93
East Tenn St 55 FINAL
Furman 59
Saint Louis 60 FINAL
George Mason 68
USC Upstate 78 FINAL
Jacksonville 65
High Point 72 FINAL
Liberty 53
Central Conn St 55 FINAL
Long Island 67
Western Ky 56 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 69
Dayton 64 FINAL
Massachusetts 66
Chattanooga 72 FINAL
Mercer 75
Wofford 58 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 42
Maryland 56 FINAL
Ohio State 80
FIU 56 FINAL
Old Dominion 71
Fair-Dickinson 65 FINAL
Robert Morris 87
Mount St Marys 67 FINAL
St Francis-NY 73
Bryant 68 FINAL
St Francis-PA 75
Northern Ky 75 FINAL
Stetson 85
Coll of Charleston 70 FINAL
Towson 74
Western Carolina 85 FINAL
Va Military 70
Sacred Heart 64 FINAL
Wagner 75
Lipscomb 62 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 78
Kennesaw St 67 FINAL
North Florida 86
Appalachian St 46 FINAL
Ga Southern 83
Holy Cross 54 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 64
Eastern Ill 51 FINAL
UT Martin 81
Jacksonville St 82 FINAL
Belmont 103
Connecticut 58 FINAL
Cincinnati 70
Rider 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 49
SIU Edwardsville 75 FINAL
SE Missouri St 61
Marshall 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 54
Tenn Tech 56 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Middle Tennessee 58 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
Ill-Chicago 65 FINAL
Milwaukee 71
Weber State 67 FINAL
North Dakota 60
Denver 54 FINAL
North Dakota St 61
IUPU-Ft Wayne 66 FINAL
South Dakota 55
Louisiana 85 FINAL
South Alabama 89
Ark-Little Rock 75 FINAL
Arkansas State 65
Georgia State 88 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 74
ULM 58 FINAL
Troy 55
Portland 46 FINAL
Gonzaga 64
Kentucky 69 FINAL
Missouri 53
Eastern Ky 78 FINAL
Murray State 85
UAB 69 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 71
Idaho State 76 FINAL
Northern Colorado 79
UMKC 57 FINAL
Grand Canyon 78
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Utah Valley U 78
Colorado 83 3rd OT
USC 83
Cal Poly 57 FINAL
UC Irvine 67
Hawaii 84 FINAL
CS-Northridge 73
Pepperdine 50 FINAL
Pacific 43
Santa Clara 62 2nd Half 0:09
San Diego 67
Utah 59 FINAL
UCLA 69
UC Santa Barbara 64 FINAL
UC Davis 70
Montana 73 FINAL
Portland State 54
Montana State 59 FINAL
Sacramento St 75
Long Beach State 57 2nd Half 7:00
Cal State Fullerton 66
Loyola Marymount 51 2nd Half 2:44
St Marys-CA 60
San Francisco 36 2nd Half 18:12
BYU 38
California 39 2nd Half 20:00
Washington St 37
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 77 FINAL
Georgia Southern 74
Niagara 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 65
Old Dominion 80 FINAL
FIU 67
Southern Miss 65 FINAL
Marshall 67
Georgia State 45 FINAL
TX-Arlington 57
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
ULM 51 FINAL
Troy 90
Pittsburgh 45 FINAL
(17) Duke 62
(6) Tennessee 73 FINAL
(10) Kentucky 72
(24) Oklahoma 81 FINAL
(14) Texas 84
Nebraska Omaha 59 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 70
UC-Riverside 68 FINAL
CS-Northridge 56
Army 65 FINAL
Boston U 40
New Orleans 40 FINAL
Nicholls 56
Charlotte 68 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 71
Towson 54 FINAL
Delaware 72
Hofstra 66 FINAL
Northeastern 45
New Hampshire 56 FINAL
Maine 87
Albany 89 FINAL
Vermont 48
Hartford 60 FINAL
Stony Brook 58
UNC-Wilmington 62 FINAL
William & Mary 67
Clemson 62 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Alabama 54 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 85
(23) Syracuse 58 FINAL
(8) Louisville 78
Missouri 68 FINAL
Florida 52
Iona 66 FINAL
Fairfield 77
Manhattan 38 FINAL
Marist 77
NC State 63 FINAL
Virginia 71
(4) Notre Dame 74 FINAL
Virginia Tech 50
(22) Rutgers 58 FINAL
Purdue 49
(5) Maryland 91 FINAL
Michigan 65
Milwaukee 58 FINAL
Cleveland State 67
Wright State 108 FINAL
Oakland 89
Jacksonville 64 FINAL
USC Upstate 66
North Florida 40 FINAL
Kennesaw St 46
Stetson 62 FINAL
Northern Ky 68
Loyola-Maryland 57 FINAL
Holy Cross 51
Lamar 87 FINAL
Sam Houston St 68
Fla Gulf Coast 71 FINAL
Lipscomb 49
Vanderbilt 44 FINAL
(18) Miss State 69
IUPUI 62 FINAL
Western Ill 73
Abilene Christian 53 FINAL
Houston Baptist 50
Incarnate Word 54 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 63
McNeese State 78 FINAL
SE Louisiana 57
Oral Roberts 46 FINAL
South Dakota St 71
Louisiana Tech 66 FINAL
Western Ky 82
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 73
Texas-El Paso 52 FINAL
UAB 67
Auburn 47 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Grand Canyon 65 FINAL
UMKC 59
Illinois 57 FINAL
(15) Nebraska 59
(20) Iowa 102 FINAL
Northwestern 99
Utah Valley U 55 FINAL
Chicago State 60
Green Bay 67 FINAL
Valparaiso 52
Ole Miss 41 FINAL
LSU 70
Portland State 31 FINAL
Montana 72
Sacramento St 64 FINAL
Montana State 91
North Dakota 55 FINAL
Weber State 48
Ohio State 85 FINAL
Wisconsin 73
Northern Colorado 61 FINAL
Idaho State 70
BYU 68 FINAL
San Francisco 63
St Marys-CA 56 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 49
Pacific 63 FINAL
Pepperdine 59
Cal-Irvine 61 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 58
San Diego 64 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
UC Davis 64 FINAL
Cal Poly 72
Long Beach St 6 1st Half 16:21
Hawaii 8
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close